Throughout his football career at UTSA, David Glasco II was lauded by head coach Larry Coker for his leadership, selflessness and determination.
A running back, Glasco was a member of the Roadrunners' first signing class in 2010. He finished his four-year career as the leading rusher in the program's brief history, and graduated with a degree in communications last December.
Seven months after playing in his last game, Glasco is engaged in a community project that reflects his social consciousness and zeal for taking on a challenge.
On Sunday, Glasco and close friend Dieter Cantu, a student at UTSA, will meet with gang leaders at Rainbow Hills Park in a summit they're calling a "Peace Convention."
The meeting, scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. and closed to the public, is sponsored by a nonprofit organization named Position of Power, which was founded by Cantu in San Antonio five years ago. Glasco joined P.O.P. three years ago.
Glasco and Cantu say they hope the Peace Convention will be a first step toward helping defuse some of the gang-related crime that spikes in the summer when kids are on vacation.
"We need to stop the nonsense and put the guns down," Glasco said this week. "We need to do something positive instead of devoting so much energy to the wrong stuff. We have to get our priorities in order.
"We're realistic. We understand Rome wasn't built in a day, but the least we can do is try to make things better. When you have a passion for something and you're determined, I think you can do anything."
This week's shooting deaths at a black church in Charleston, S.C., Glasco said, has given him and Cantu more incentive as peacemakers heading into Sunday's meeting.
"We're still on schedule and we still have goals to accomplish," said Glasco, a 2010 Wagner High School graduate. "We're trying to put an end to all this violence, whether it's black-on-black crime or a white killing a black person. In the end, we're all human. That's what people fail to see. I don't think any of us should be treated differently because of our skin color."
Glasco, 23, is working as a payroll clerk in the Judson ISD's transportation department while he tries to get into law school.
Glasco and Cantu have worked long hours for nearly two months to make Sunday's meeting a reality. They both expressed a sense of urgency to bring gang leaders together and help them find common ground.
"School is out and kids just have time in the summer to get involved in gang activity," Cantu said. "It's sad to say, but it's kind of a never-ending cycle. We haven't reached out to everybody, but we think that the people who are willing to come to the Peace Convention will go back to their people and tell them that everybody there is genuine and wants to make things better.
"I'm sure there will be instances where we'll agree to disagree. But there also will be 'I hear what you're saying, so let's at least give it a try.' If you cannot come with the intention of listening or having some kind of humility, then don't even bother showing."
Cantu, 25, is a full-time student at UTSA and also is a municipal worker for Castle Hills. Originally from Chicago, Cantu has lived in San Antonio since 2009.
"I hope that people know that we're sincere about this," Cantu said. "We understand that people don't change overnight, but we've got to try to change things for the sake of everybody. We have a plan and we're committed to implementing it. You've got to become active and you can't do that just by tweeting about it or Facebooking about it. You have to get involved. You can't change things if you don't do that."
Cantu said that his organization plans to have a Peace Convention in Houston, Chicago, Detroit and Gary, Ind.
"We're expecting anywhere from 50 to 75 people Sunday," Cantu said. "We've only invited the leaders, the older members of these gangs and then they'll relay the message to the younger ones. It's not like we talked to one person and he's going to bring 10 people with him.
"We've had some gang leaders tell us that they respect what we're doing, but they can't come Sunday because something just happened. I've left that alone. I don't want to know what it is. I've asked them to come back when they're ready."
Glasco said his experience as an athlete has helped him as a community activist.
"Some people always bash an athlete because they say we have no work experience," he said. "I always say, 'What do you mean?' We've learned all that we need to know to be successful. I've learned how to interact with my white teammates. I didn't have that many white teammates when I was at Wagner. I learned how to interact with those guys in college.
"I learned how to fight through tough times. I know what it's like to work on assignments and have a deadline. I know how to react in a pressure situation. I know how to break down in a situation, just like I did on the football field. I learned all that through football. I think that's one of the best things that prepared me for the real world."